Functional and diffusion MRI biomarkers of mild cognitive impairment
Faraco, Carlos Cesar
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Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is often viewed as an intermediate phase between normal aging and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Consequently, it is important to identify biomarkers of this pre-clinical phase of AD in order to provide preventative treatments. In the present study, MCI participants underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) scanning. FMRI data was acquired while participants performed a complex working memory span (CWKMS) task and DTI diffusivity indices were correlated with performance on cognitive measures. FMRI findings suggest that superior temporal gyrus hyper-activation during CWKMS performance may be a previously undiscovered biomarker of memory impairment in MCI. Performance on a delayed memory measure demonstrated widespread negative correlations with DTI diffusivity measures in those with MCI along several pathways connecting cortical regions involved in memory performance, suggesting that impaired memory performance in MCI and AD may be compounded by global white matter deterioration. Altogether, functional and structural imaging biomarkers of MCI were identified which may further aid in elucidating the causes of memory impairment in MCI and providing targeted treatments.